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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Action is needed now

In the Assembly today the questions to the Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration concentrated on anti-social behaviour. Inevitably, the misuse of fireworks formed part of that questioning. There have been two serious incidents locally in the last week or so. In one a firework was fired through an old lady's window in Llanelli and injured her. The second incident was last night in Port Talbot when a firework was used to set fire to a flat and several people had to be evacuated. There was extensive damage. As I write my house is reverberating with bangs and whizzs. That is because it is fireworks night of course, but this has been going on for weeks and will no doubt carry on in a less intensive manner until after New Year. I have a cat who we have been unable to let out of the house at night all week. It used to be just bonfire night when pets were confined to the home but that time is long gone. The Government is promising to enact the provisions of the Fireworks Act by Christmas, to restrict the sale of certain fireworks and impose a curfew on their use. The question has to be asked though, is this enough? I have long advocated that fireworks should only be sold by licensed vendors and that their private use should be severely curtailed. Watching firework displays is safer and they can be more spectacular than private parties. Fireworks have proved to be a weapon in the hands of anti-social youngsters. We have banned other such weapons. Perhaps it is time that the Government took that extra step and spared us all from the weeks of torture and hell that we have to put up with at this time of year.
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